Wherein I’m Reminded of My Place in the World [Hyperbolic Tendencies]
Without a doubt, my strongest (and one of the fondest) childhood memory is the multi-sensory experience of walking through the autumn woods, trees blazing with color, leaves crunching underfoot and the sweet, earthy smell of humus filling me up. (My second strongest memory is being handed over by parents to clowns at the circus, but that’s another column.)
This week, the thermometer on our back porch topped out at 101F on Thursday. Everyone I talked with was divided between the opposing positions that we were either simply experiencing the usual late blooming “summer in Los Angeles” or it was “the catastrophic effects of global warming.”
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn WHY it was so hot. Just that it was. In mid-October. Somewhere buried deep within my mongrelized DNA, a simple, clear message was created and distributed to my brain – Something is Wrong.
Yes, I understand much of the world exists without four distinct seasons. And since the age of fifteen, I’ve lived in every time zone in the United States, much of it out of the country’s regions that boast all four seasons. I’ve been gone long enough that it would be reasonable to expect this seasonal response to have faded. And yet, it’s stronger than ever.
Even at only eight or nine years old, autumn made clear to younger me I was connected to the earth’s – and life’s – major cycle of birth/death/renewal. While I certainly couldn’t articulate it back then, during the fall I knew I was part of something much bigger and more profound.
A ha. Methinks there’s a clue here.
Yes, I miss the season’s crisp air, the smell of leaves, and apple cider. But what’s missing during this time of year is that building urgency, the sense of needing to clean house and prepare for the coming winter. Put another way, fall was the beginning of Nature’s annual demand that we live without nice weather, longer days and an easier life. It was this demand and subsequent winter that made the beginning of spring so welcome and anticipation of summer so deeply meaningful.
I’m not going to go into the usual blather – positive or negative – about the 300+ days of sunshine here in southern California because that’s not what’s got me riled up. It’s about wanting to reestablish my personal connection with the world’s bigger rhythms.
Anyone have any good ideas?
The thought of remembering your own childhood bit too daunting today? Instead, why not read a copy of Hell House: The Awakening. It’s guaranteed escapism as its finest! That’s not enough fodder for procrastination? Then follow me and my hyperbolic tendencies on Twitter at @rbripley.
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featured image credit: Scott Beale/Laughing Squid